Caleb Owusu-Acheaw steps down after admitting to an unauthorized withdrawal
The Arts and Science Federation of Associations’s (ASFA) Finance Coordinator, Caleb Owusu-Acheaw, resigned on Nov. 29 after admitting to withdrawing funds for personal use. His resignation came directly after a special council meeting held to discuss the course of action going forward after Owusu-Acheaw told ASFA.
Owusu-Acheaw revealed to the executive team on Nov. 27 that he took $300 from ASFA’s petty cash, according to a statement released on Sunday by ASFA executives and council, as well as Owusu-Acheaw. The petty cash is kept in case of unforeseen expenses in day-to-day operations at ASFA. It is managed by the finance coordinator.
Although Owusu-Acheaw said he would repay ASFA by Jan. 1 2019, immediate actions were taken by the executive team to protect the federation from financial risk.
Marguerite Rolland, ASFA’s advocacy and executive coordinator, told The Concordian the executive team is “sympathetic to Caleb’s situation and appreciative that he came forward.” However, Rolland added “the executives understood that their primary responsibility was toward ASFA’s financial risk and to ensuring accountability going forward.”
Following this incident, an emergency meeting was held between the executive team, the office manager, and the council chairperson on Nov. 28. During the meeting, an informal inspection of the federation’s cash finances was conducted. It was also decided that Owusu-Acheaw would reimburse ASFA $450.
Rolland said that when the informal audit of cash finances was performed, those present at the meeting discovered that cash revenue collected from ASFA’s past events were deposited in a separate petty cash fund by Owusu-Acheaw. “The executive and office manager did not have knowledge that funds in cash were in the possession of the finance coordinator,” said Rolland.
Rolland said ASFA is planning on changing their policies to have two people authorize any withdrawal. “Council has mandated that ASFA hire an external third-party to conduct an audit on all financial policy, including any procedure related to keeping and using cash,” said Rolland. “An interim measure of two-party authorization for any use of cash has been implemented until a formal policy is approved.”
ASFA’s finance policies will be inspected by a third-party to ensure the federation’s budgetary responsibility is held to a higher level, following a council motion.
During the meeting, council had also voted to remove the now-former finance coordinator from his position after a 10-day statutory period.
The President and Councillor of Concordia’s Sociology & Anthropology Student Union, Gigi Cordeiro, was appointed as interim finance coordinator until January, when there will be a call out and an election of a new finance coordinator.
In the statement release on Sunday, Rolland said ASFA is committed to “upholding the trust that students have placed within us, and as such we are working to ensure that situations like this do not arise in the future.”